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How to Make a Personal Planner that Rocks

Posted By Jessica Fisher On August 17, 2011 @ 1:34 am In Home Management,Printables | 59 Comments

Here she is, in all her glory, my new planner. She may not look like much. But, trust me when I say she is a powerhouse just waiting to be unleashed.

She holds all my goals, hopes and dreams inside her little pages.

I mentioned last week that this is my brain on paper [4]. I take it with me everywhere and always have what I need to keep track of household, family, and writing affairs. I’ve got several calendars, a contacts section, several to-do lists for different areas of life, and several pocket pages to hold extra information or greeting cards that I want to keep on hand.

This is the third time that I’ve bound my own personal planner. And I can honestly say that this baby rocks. While it takes a little more time to put together than a standard binder and requires that I anticipate my needs for the next year a little more specifically, it really works for me to have it spiral bound.

After a recent binder-shopping trip, I also determined that a spiral bound book doesn’t really cost that much more than using a three-ring binder. Have you seen how expensive nice binders are these days? Holy smokes! I spent $5 to have it bound which was a  significantly lower price than the binders Staples had to offer.

Earlier this month, I released the latest revision of Organizing Life as MOM [5]. It’s 173 pages of inspiration and planning pages to put together a household notebook or personal planner that works for you. Every planning page, every worksheet that I have in mine is available in the main book or in the homeschool or blogging add-ons.

For the curious, here’s a virtual tour of my planner and suggestions for making a customized planner for you:

1. Determine what your needs are.

What are the things that you need to keep track on a day-to-day basis? Jot down a quick list so that you have a blueprint for putting together your planner. I get into great detail about this in my ebook [5], but some basic things to include are:

  • calendar
  • contacts list
  • to do list

2. Gather supplies.

I pulled together my planner based on what I already had: copy paper, cheap folders, and cardstock. I had to buy tabs for the dividers and pay for the binding and laminating. Depending on the office and school supplies at your disposal, you may already have everything you need.

3. Print pages to include in your planner.

You can buy the all-new and improved OLAM [5] for a treasure-trove of planning pages, calendars, and other worksheets to help you get your act together. Or you can check out some of these free sources for printables [6].

4. Insert dividers.

I used color cardstock that I had leftover from my scrapbooking days as well as some cheap pocket folders that you can buy on sale for a nickel. With a straight edge, I trimmed everything to 8 1/2 x 11, so that all my notebook pages are uniform.

5. Consider lamination.

Laminating pages that you will use over and over again saves you space in your binder as well as a tree. Consider laminating pages that you won’t need to keep records of. I laminated my daily to do list, my meal plan/grocery page, my weekly to do’s, and my weekly cleaning list. I use overhead projector pens which are wet erase. There is a bit of smearing from time to time, but not enough to deter me from this method. My planner is thinner as a result, and I feel good about having a green-er notebook.

6. Bind it.

As I mentioned already, I prefer to have my book spiral bound at the copy shop. You might choose to use a three-ring binder. Use what works best for you.

7. Add divider tabs.

I purchased these old school divider tabs to use for each of my section dividers. I actually found several different brands, but these traditional stick-on tabs from Avery seem to be the most durable.

8. Use it.

Over the years I’ve put together a number of household binders. And often they ended up neglected in a drawer. After some troubleshooting, I realized that a binder was too bulky and unwieldy. Once I switched to spiral bound, it’s as if my organizational world was transformed. A spiral book takes up so much less room on the counter or in my tote bag. It’s easier to write in and much more usable for me.

Find out how to make your planner serve you and then use it.

If you haven’t already done so, hop on over to the OLAM sales page [5] and see if this personal planner ebook can help YOU organize your “life as mom.”

Got a planner?

What do you do to your planner to make it rock?


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[3] my free seasonal newsletter: http://eepurl.com/q47Vb

[4] my brain on paper: http://lifeasmom.com/2011/08/what-do-you-want-in-an-organizational-tool.html

[5] the latest revision of Organizing Life as MOM: http://lifeasmom.com/organizing-life-as-mom-redesigned-and-updated-ebook

[6] these free sources for printables: http://lifeasmom.com/2011/01/make-a-household-notebook.html

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